Many options for clean energy in Delaware

January 24, 2023

The Jan. 17 Gazette carried a letter titled "EVs will still be charged by fossil fuels," by Geary Foertsch. It was a story with an invalid conclusion because it was based on insufficient and incomplete information.

Foertsch looks at his current local electric bill for insight, but he does not talk about any recent reports on serious climate change-induced extreme weather and storm-based serious damage to man, beast and property. He evidently decides that whatever the electric bill says is not going to change ever or should not change ever. Folks, in recent years I have been monitoring climate change. Its effects are getting worse. They will hit our neighborhood. 

I was once worried about estimates of sea-level rise. It is a credible estimate that we will get a 1-foot rise by 2050, maybe sooner. This is going to make our local beach replenishments much more expensive because erosion will be much worse. A rise of 5 to 10 feet by 2100 will just wipe out our neighborhood and submerge coastal Delaware to cause a loss of about 10% of the state's area (for this rough estimate, I have looked at Delaware elevation maps). In just the last few years, large parts of the USA have experienced record extreme storms, extreme droughts and rainfall pattern disturbances in southeast USA and Florida and most of the western USA, particularly the whole West Coast. Delaware was lucky. But Delaware has been hit before and we should expect repeats. Bigger climate change-induced hurricanes could hit Delmarva and we would be remiss by ignoring the warning. If the extreme weather visits Delmarva and hits farm crops, it will impact you when you go to your local grocery stores in the Lewes-Rehoboth neighborhoods and start seeing more empty shelves and even higher prices. Even if extreme weather does not hit Delaware directly, extensive weather havoc somewhere else could still seriously impact local prices.

Foertsch's ending paragraph complains that we get no electricity from solar at night or wind farms if there is no wind. This reveals total ignorance of a massive existing wave of global decisions to go all in on grid-scale battery storage. Almost never mentioned in the lay media is tide generation of electricity, but Wikipedia has an entry under the title "Tidal power stations." Tides will always be there, night or day, high or low winds. The list includes many already existing megawatt-level installations located worldwide. Future plans are listed in the same Wikipedia article for gigawatt-level tide-powered stations. Unlike wind farms, the equipment for tide power stations is mostly underwater, so that should satisfy all the local people who would be disturbed by any offshore wind farms. 

Some recently built energy storage installations are based on gravity, compressed air, green hydrogen and pumped storage. More are planned. Some pumped hydro installations have been in existence for decades. These kinds of projects are being massively expanded and they are rarely mentioned in the lay media.

Arthur E. Sowers


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